“The messenger arrived and gave me the place, date, and hour of the exchange for the planned border crossing. I don’t remember when it was, but I took him to the wayside shrine near Kyjov. I looked and saw a green car standing by the shrine. I reckoned that the police have cars like that and that it could be some kind of camouflage. I never saw him again. They took him away, and a few days later I was arrested by State Security. They took me to Uherské Hradiště, where I was interrogated for a long time.”
“The state court had prepared a show trial for me; I was to get the greatest possible punishment. I was there for goodness-knows how long. A concrete cell, dark, cold, water spilt out on the concrete floor. There was nothing to sit on, lie on, covering myself with. I would sleep in the corner with my shoulders leaning against the wall to get some rest. But how long can you keep your knees up? I sank down. I don’t know how long I was there, but it came to the situation that I felt as if I was starting to die. I had lost myself. My mind was absent. I didn’t know I was myself. I had never experienced that before. I thought I couldn’t take that. I wanted to pray ‘I believe in God’, but I was unable to remember the words, although I am a church-going Catholic and I pray regularly. I had lost it. I kept praying until I pieced it together again. After a while I realised I was not alone, I could sense someone helping me. Having prayed, I began to feel my mind slowly return to me. It was with God’s help.”
Like nation, like government, and the nation can expect no more
Stanislav Holáň was born on 20 November 1923 in Nedakonice near Uherské Hradiště. From 1945 to 1948 he led a Catholic Scout troop in his village. For several weeks in 1950 he sheltered the Catholic priest Felix Maria Davídek, who was a fugitive from the Communist regime. He was arrested by State Security and sentenced to 14 years of prison in Brno on 21 March 1952. He was released after nine years. He served in several penal labour camps connected to the uranium mines, but his worst memories are of the prison in Uherské Hradiště. Incarcerated in a damp concrete tomb with no chair, bed, or blanket of any kind, only his faith in God allowed him to survive several weeks of solitude without losing his sanity. After his release he worked as a bricklayer at the District Construction Company until his retirement. He married the teacher Marie Vítková, who was fired from her job shortly after their marriage and was then forced to work as a cleaning lady. Their two sons also suffered from their “dispreferred” class profile and had difficulties enrolling at schools. As of 2018, Stanislav Holáň lived in Nedakonice. He died on July 26th, 2018.